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Panther Valley school board appoints a new member

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    New Panther Valley school board member Steven Foster is sworn in by Robert Yurchak, the board’s solicitor. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS

Published January 12. 2018 12:49PM

A decade ago, Steven Foster was walking the halls of Panther Valley Junior/Senior High School as a student.

Now, the Lansford resident will return to the halls of the school district, to serve on the school board.

The school board appointed Foster to a seat during its regular meeting Thursday night. Three other district residents applied for the position.

The seat opened up when William Mansberry Jr. was unable to take the seat he won in last November’s general election due to health issues.

Board members were split 5-3 over whether to appoint Foster or Jack Soberick, the Lansford police chief.

Joseph Faenza, Keith Krapf and Renee DeMelfi voted for Soberick.

Foster is a 2008 graduate of Panther Valley. He joins his brother, Justin Foster, who was appointed to a seat on the board and then won re-election in November.

Steven Foster’s term will expire in December 2019.

Following his first meeting, he explained that he wanted to run for the board to help the district.

“I just wanted to make it better, try to make it better for everybody,” he said.

Board President Wayne Gryzik said Foster interviewed well and appeared to have the same priorities as the other board members.

“His number one concern is the education of the students, and participating in whatever he can to help increase the scholastic endeavor of those kids,” Gryzik said.

He will also be the board’s first representative from Lansford since board member John Williams, who resigned in 2016. There have been three resignations from the board since May 2016.

Gryzik added that the wide range of ages of board members is an asset to the school district.

“There’s a nice mixture,” he said. “That’s a very positive thing.”

In other business

The school board also:

• Thanked the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors Association, its 2017 board President Cass Chies, and CEO Justin Porembo for donating about $1,000 worth of winter coats to Panther Valley students during the holiday season. Porembo is a Panther Valley graduate and son of board member Gary Porembo and former district Superintendent Rosemary Porembo.

“After the past two weeks where the mercury remained in single digits, this proved to be a valuable program,” Gary Porembo said.

• Appointed Krapf to serve on the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit board.

• Announced that the Junior/Senior High School will be hosting a member of the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps, with a Panther Valley alumnus agreeing to fund the position.

• Unanimously approved the list of fall sports coaches for the 2018-19 school year with the exception of football coach Scott Price. The board approved Price, but Keith Krapf, Renee DeMelfi and Joseph Faenza voted against.

• Discussed the opening of bids for food service management services, with the only bidder being their current provider, Nutrition Inc. The proposal will be discussed by the Building & Grounds Committee at the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 18.

• Learned that the Carbon Career & Technical Institute 2018-19 budget will not require an increase in funding from the school district.

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